More help is needed to ensure the ‘struggling seventh’ – the most disadvantaged 15 per cent of UK society – are reached by the benefits of the information society, according to a ‘Digital inclusion manifesto’ published by specialist consultancy humanITy (www.humanity.org.uk).
Contrary to expectation the so-called ‘digital divide’ has compounded exclusion among vulnerable groups, and while a lot of resources have been directed towards the improving the access of the ‘final third’, there is still more to be done for the most disadvantaged groups, the manifesto finds.
The poorest people in UK society are understandably sceptical about the benefits that they receive from new technology, it says. The government is focusing on online service provision but more than 80% of government transactions are undertaken by people who do not own a home computer.
The manifesto stresses the need for action across a range of technology platforms, from the home computer to mobile phones.
Often the IT skills that are provided to disadvantaged people are ones at the bottom of the scale which are becoming unnecessary due to the progress of automation, the manifesto says. A change in curriculum is required to correct this.